Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Fairy Tales and Miracles

I came across a beautiful video that shows the development of a child from insemination to birth.

As I watched it I couldn't help wonder how the cells, both the sperm and the embryonic cells, "know" where to go. I marveled, too, at how the cells "know" to differentiate themselves into various tissues, and how the tissues "know" to arrange themselves in 3 dimensional patterns of a specific shape. The amount of information and organization this whole process requires, the feedback and control systems that must be deployed, are all enormously complex and ingenious.

The developmental process from sperm to newborn appears to be wonderfully programmed and choreographed, but by what? The laws of chemistry? Natural selection? How does a purposeless, mechanical process like natural selection generate the incredible amount of information - far more information than what's required by, say, a computer operating system - that's needed for embryogenesis, even given a billion years of evolutionary time?

Perhaps some purely naturalistic, mechanical process did produce this amazing developmental sequence, but if so, it's as if a fairy tale has come true. Or a miracle: